People of faith have traditionally held very conservative ideas about whether a couple should cohabitate before getting married. In recent years, however, the majority of Americans agree that it is acceptable for a couple to live together, especially if the two of them do plan to get married eventually. Only the two people involved in the relationship can decide what's best for them. If you and your partner are considering combining your households, there are a few potential pros and cons to consider.
Enables Solid Partnerships To Flourish
Couples that are on good, solid ground are likely to thrive by living together. If you both work full-time jobs and are involved in your community, cohabitation may make it easier to nurture your healthy relationship. Under the same roof, you can explore the elements of intimacy needed to sustain a lasting partnership:
- Fostering interdependence
- Showing care and concern
- Growing in knowledge of each other's thoughts, ideas and faults
- Developing trust
- Establishing relational identities
- Responding to each other's needs
- Committing to long-term partnership
Provides Practical Relief
Many single people like living alone. It gives them a haven of stability that is not swayed by relationships that don't work out or roommates who move away before the lease is even up. However, when you are in a committed relationship, particularly one in which you are spending most nights together anyway, it makes good financial sense to share a home. This is especially true if you're saving up for a wedding. Splitting the major bills gives you more expendable income to put aside.
It's no wonder that weddings cause a lot of stress along with the joy of the big day for couples. This hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event serves as the start of their lives together, and it is a day that they will remember for the rest of their relationship. Those who don't cohabitate before marriage likely experience even more stress than the average couple. They are planning the merging of their families at the same time that one or both of them are planning to move into their new, shared home. Every major life event has enough stress on its own. Cohabiting before marriage allows the couple to focus on just one big change at a time.
Places Stress on Other Relationships
No relationship truly exists in a vacuum. No matter how hard you try to deny it, the opinions of friends and family members can have an impact on your partnership. Some of them may express disapproval of your decision to move in together. Whether they object on grounds of their own moral codes or because of certain details of your specific relationship, this disagreement can cause a rift between you that may be hard to repair.
Even when loved ones see your decision to cohabitate as a good one, it still has the potential to change the other relationships in your support system, particularly if the decision seems abrupt. Moving in together often takes the adjustment period of wedding planning off the table and can leave some friends feeling abandoned unless you make a considerable effort to protect and strengthen friendships during this transition.
Reveals Potential Weaknesses in Your Partnership
Cohabitation is a surefire way to test your relationship. Unfortunately, it may do little more than show you all the ways you don't work as a couple. In a way, this disadvantage can actually have a positive outcome. If you and your partner talk about marriage but living together exposes too many volatile, irreconcilable differences, it may spare you the pain and significantly greater expense of a divorce later on. It won't feel great in the moment, though.
Living together isn't necessarily for everyone. If, however, your relationships with each other and your support systems are strong, cohabitation may be the next step to take on your path to lifelong partnership.